SANDF defends R2bn purchase of three new VIP jets

APRIL 6, 2015

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF)  has defended its decision to acquire three new VIP jets for President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet at a cost of R2 billion. The purchase comes after Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced revised spending plans to cut costs.

Air Force spokesperson Brigadier-General Marthie Visser says in the last few years, VIP planes had to be hired when the current ones were out of service.

On Sunday the Democratic Alliance (DA) described as shocking the decision to acquire the new jets before the end of the year.  

DA Member of Parliament David Maynier says President Zuma's current jet is in good condition and it recently underwent maintenance at a considerable cost to taxpayers.  

"I think that it is shocking in the very years that the Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announces a war on wasteful expenditure, especially cost cutting on travel and subsistence. Now we hear that R2 billion is going to be spent on new jets for President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet. I think that in the end President Zuma and his cabinet should do with the existing Boeing Business Jets and the falcon 900 which is operated by the South African Air Force." 

The DA says it will soon write to Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Defence to request an urgent briefing on the matter.